Travel Tips: France

Europe: France

Louvre Museum, Paris

Louvre – Arrive at The Louvre in Paris as soon as the museum opens and make The Mona Lisa your first stop to avoid the crowds that are guaranteed to arrive to view this icon of the Louvre Museum. Head to the Paintings Department, Denon Wing, Room 6. Yes, you can take a photo of her, but no flash, and no professional shots (no tripods or special lighting). But selfies? Go for it!

The other Top Two Must See at the Louvre are the Venus de Milo and the Winged Victory of Samothrace. Check the website of locations.

NOTE: Due to COVID pandemic, travel restrictions have slashed the number of visitors, the museum will limit entry to ticket holders with reservations to meet health protocols. So PLAN AHEAD!

Rodin Museum, Paris

RODIN’S “The Thinker” – The RODIN MUSEUM in Paris is also of interest for those who love sculpture, sculpture gardens, and green space filled with art! It has the original bronze sculpture of “The Thinker” showcased in its garden. The museum is easily accessible by the Paris metro and typically included in your Paris Pass. **OTHER** Because there are so many copies of “The Thinker,” this famous sculpture–check out the website of a museum you plan to visit (anywhere in the world!) to see if you might be able to see one there! And if you are visiting New York City, hop the train to the campus of Columbia University and see a large one that you can TOUCH–and take photos with–without a diligent museum guard chastising you!

Cher’s Arm Chair Travel for scenes at the Rodin Museum: “Midnight in Paris” Film Discussion

The Musee d’Orsay, Paris

Musee d’Orsay is a museum in Paris, France, one of the largest art museums in Europe.  Located on the Left Bank of the Seine, it originally housed in the former Gare d’Orsay, a Beaux-Arts railway station built between 1898 and 1900.  Holding mostly French art dating between 1848 and 1914, it houses the largest collection of Impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces in the world including paintings, sculptures, furniture and photography.  In 2019, there were more than 3.6 million visitors.

Musee d’Orsay works of art in my blog posts include: The Gleaners by both Van Gogh and Millet, Peonies by Manet, Gates of Hell by Rodin, Mother and Child by Cassatt Horse Racing and Dancers by Degas

Montmartre District, Paris

Montmartre District is a must while visiting Paris–for several reasons! First, it is at a high point of the city and provides a great view of Paris which includes the Eiffel Tower (which you can’t see if you are atop it)! Second, the Sacre Coure church (the lovely white domed one you see in all the photos) is magnificent inside and outside. Third, there are fun off the path museums including one on Salvador Dali. (Blog in Dali’s Persistence of Memory) Fourth, the Funicular getting up and down the steep hill is an experience in itself (and included in your Paris metro pass). Lastly, the quaint market area behind the church is great for eating (sit down or walk up), local artists (get your caricature drawn), shopping (all prices; haggling is welcome in some places), and just all-around interesting people-watching. HOWEVER…I highly recommend that you visit the area in the DAY TIME as the nightlife after dark can be very sketchy. Women in our group of mixed company and ages were openly propositioned; we saw drug deals go down in plain sight. Streets to get from the metro stop up the hill to the church were dark. But it is perfectly safe in the day light–and you have the least crowds if you get there as early in the morning as things open.

Monet’s Garden: Giverny

MONET’s GARDEN – Visiting Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, France (40 miles NW of Paris), has been a highlight of my travels to France. The gardens and house are still in his family and their foundation has recreated the place to be much as Monet designed it and where he painted many of his most famous and best loved paintings such as his Japanese Bridge and Water Lilies. (

Works of art painted at Giverny in my blog include his Japanese Bridge and Waterlilies.

Cher’s Arm Chair Travel for scenes in Giverny: “Midnight in Paris” Film Discussion

Unterlinden Museum, Colmar

Colmar, France, is a quaint, storybook little town near the German border. It’s atmosphere is actually more German than French. But since it is in the Alsace-Lorraine area whose borders throughout history has been both French and German, this is understandable. The area is definitely worth several days to explore, even if it is a half day’s travel outside of Paris. It is along the Alsatian Wine Route with lots of wonderful opportunity for local wine tasting as you meander down the windy road from village to village!

Unterlinden Museum, Colmar, houses the famed Isenheim Altarpiece along with many, many other fine works of art Read more about it on my blog post for Easter, 2020.

Cher’s Arm Chair Travel for France

Midnight in Paris” Click image to Read Discussion
“The Monuments Men” Click image to Read Discussion
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